World Cup Spelling - noticing vowels

Often vowels (a,e,i,o,u) cause more spelling problems than consonants, especially for English language learners. This may be partly because we tend to notice them less. It’s easier to read:
_ f__tb_ll t__m h__s _l_v_n pl_y_rs
A _oo__a__ _ea_ _a_ e_e_e_ __a_e__ .

So by paying careful attention to vowels in words, spelling may improve. Here’s an activity to help. It’s based on the 2010 World Cup, but could be used at any time.

1. Look at these football scores – do you think they are likely?
Brazil 2-5 South Africa
Argentina 4–3 Greece
USA 2–4 Algeria
2. Why do you think they have been given those scores? (Hint: vowels).
3. Think of two other matches that could be played in the World Cup. What are the ‘scores’ (from the number of vowels in the country names)?
4. Print off the worksheet below. Look at Part A only, not Part B. Write in the ‘scores’ in Part A. Do as many as you want.
5. Decide how likely you think each score is in the real World Cup. Highlight the ones that you predict might be true. When the World Cup gets going, see how many you got right.
6. But before that, look at the spelling of the countries. Learn the spelling of any you don’t know. If there are a lot you don’t know, just choose the most important ones to learn. Concentrate on the vowels. Use Look Say Cover Write and Check to learn the spellings (See )
7. Now look at Part B but don’t look at Part A (or any notes you made while learning the spellings). Don’t cheat!! Identify the countries and fill in the vowels.
8. Check your answers in Part A.
9. Enjoy the World Cup!

World Cup Spelling

Spelling loanwords in English and other languages

There are lots of reasons why English spelling is like it is (see previous post: ) but one of them is that when words are borrowed from other languages the English usually retain the spelling.

I have just returned from a trip to Malaysia and was interested to see many English loanwords in Bahasa Malaysian (the Malay language) where the spelling has been changed to reflect their own spelling conventions and in some cases their pronunciation too. So you might ...
• ... go to work by bas
• ... nibble on a biskut
• ...put your car in the garaj
• ... buy a ticket at the kaunter
• ... be late for your English kelas
• ... buy a new komputer
• ... take a mesej for someone
• ... try to understand a sistem
• ... take a teksi
• ... watch televisyen, or
• ... visit a ...

In English, we try to keep the original pronunciation (often failing miserably!) and the original spelling. We even keep accents that we don’t usually use; at least we try, though they do sometimes find themselves sitting on the wrong letter.

I am writing this from a trip around the some Balkan countries and my host informs me that in Slovene and Croatian when English words are used the original spelling is retained, whereas Serbia prefers to keep true to its own spelling conventions so loanword spellings are changed to reflect that.

What about in another language that you know? When words are ‘borrowed’ from other languages, is the spelling altered?

Interesting? You might like these previous posts: